Brittany Passalacqua (Image provided by http://fingerlakesdailynews.com)

In 2009, Brittany Passalacqua was a typical 12 years old, seventh grader. Unfortunately, she was tragically stabbed to death, along with her mother, Helen Buchel, by her mother's boyfriend, John Brown. At the time he was on parole for assaulting his infant daughter after having been released early, serving two-and-a-half years of a three-year sentence. Brittany's mother was unaware of his violent past when the two started dating.

This atrocity sparked Dale Driscoll, Brittany's grandmother, to fight for a change. She, along with several members of the New York State Senate and other families with similar stories, are pushing for the "Domestic Violence Prevention Act - Brittany's Law."

 

Shannon Pepper

    Shannon Pepper was a strong supporter of The Domestic Violence Prevention Act - Brittany's Law. She started petitioning for the law August 20, 2014 after her attacker, Tony Nevone, received a twenty year sentence. Shannon was attack July 13th - July 15th, 2013 by Nevone. For two days, he tortured her and then left her in a coma clinging to life for three weeks. The nurses at the hospital did everything necessary to save Shannon, noting that they have seen car accident victims with less injuries that didn't make it.

   After coming out of the coma Shannon was told in the hospital that Nevone had been convicted before for beating a women and taking her ear off. Nevone, at that time, had gotten a 15 year sentence but only served 7 1/2 years. Later she found out that he was arrested 20 times before and convicted 17 times for various assaults. Shannon only knew him for a couple of months and told the police that had she known of his past she would not have gone near him because she had just gotten away from an abusive husband.

     After a month, Shannon was told she was going home. She didn't have the ability to speak, so she wrote a prayer to God and it said:

Thank you God for giving me life and allowing me to stay through it. 
I hope I can do what I need to, to help others never go through this.
My heart is broken but I have to heal somehow, some way.

   Even though Shannon struggled with life, trying to heal from her injuries, (eight broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken eye sockets, trauma to her brain, broken upper and lower jaws, her lips almost torn off, face blindness and a life long battle with fear) she went out and talked to a lot of people and got a lot of signatures for Brittany's Law. She was amazed at how many people asked "Why don't we have this law already."

   Shannon only had from August 2014 to February 21, 2015 to make people aware of Brittany's Law because sadly she passed away in an apartment fire.  Now her family is trying to grow strength in getting the word out so no other person or their families has to go through this. 

 

Misty Ramos of Bordentown, NJ was murdered by her boyfriend, Noel Irizarry in 2011. That has led her brother, Kell Ramos to devote his time since her death trying to get a violent offender registry in their state of New Jersey.

For more information on this story, visit http://www.trentonian.com/article/20111109/NEWS/311099971